Human fishermen are the most visible of the river stalkers early in the spring, but a number of different wildlife species also gather as many fish as they can. Down at the river this year I've seen Otters, Mink, Eagles, Ospreys, Great Blue Herons, and Green Herons angling for a meal. The most interesting animal that I've seen so far this year was a Swallow-Tailed Kite, several miles downriver from the studio. An amazing black and white bird with a four-foot wingspan, the Kite is not often seen in Maryland. I guess this one must have been migrating north, and went farther than most of his kind. For whatever reason he was here, I was happy to have witnessed his travels for a few minutes.
The tiny white blossoms of Spring Beauties have faded, and right now Columbine, Jack-in-the Pulpit and Pink Lady's Slippers dominate the parade of wildflowers in the woods. Several species of ferns, their fiddleheads uncurling among the leaf litter, are also reappearing after a winter's rest. I'm still hearing the last calls of the White-crowned Sparrows before they head north, and I'm waiting for an Ovenbird's bright call to replace the sparrows as they leave. A pair of bluebirds have nested in a box in the back yard, and some Carolina Wrens have begun calling the shed home, dragging tufts of grass through the crack in the door. I hope they don't build their nest in the lawn mower.
In a few weeks, Canoes and Kayaks will begin silently gliding down the river. The season gets in full swing with Paddlefest, set for May 19th near Denton. I'll be showing some of my artwork art Martinak State park on that date. At the same time, hundreds of small, narrow boats will make their way from the shallow waters of Red Bridges to Martinak's wide banks. A lot of fun activities are planned, as well as art displays. I'm looking forward to the day.